Background: Changes in employment conditions in the global economy over the past 30 years have led to increased job insecurity and other work organization hazards. These hazards may play a role in creating and sustaining occupational health disparities by socioeconomic position, gender, race, ethnicity, and immigration status.
Methods: A conceptual model was developed to guide the review of 103 relevant articles or chapters on the role of work organization and occupational health disparities identified through a comprehensive search conducted by NIOSH. A second review was conducted of employment and workplace policies and programs designed to reduce the health and safety risks due to job insecurity and other work organization hazards.
Results: There is consistent evidence that workers in lower socioeconomic or social class positions are exposed to greater job insecurity and other work organization hazards than workers in higher socioeconomic positions. Likewise, racial and ethnic minorities and immigrants are exposed to greater job insecurity. Limited research examining the effects of interventions targeting work organization hazards on disparities has been conducted; nonetheless, intervention strategies are available and evidence suggests they are effective.
Conclusions: Job insecurity and work organization hazards play a role in creating and sustaining occupational health disparities. Employment and workplace policies and programs have the potential to reduce these hazards, and to reduce disparities.
Keywords: health disparities; job insecurity; job stress; occupational health disparities; work organization.
© 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.